Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Viral Marketing, Pt. 2 of 4: Facebook and Forums


Facebook is very possibly the single must-have on any networker’s list. Everybody and their mother’s cousin are on Facebook these days. You can’t afford not to join them. However, because the point of Facebook accounts is to gather friends, and not necessarily potential customers, most people’s friend lists are much more limited on Facebook than on other social sites, such as Twitter. The good news is that, even though your contact list is smaller, it’s probably made up of a more select group of people, who are more likely to be interested in what you have to say than would be some huge, random conglomerate. A few tips:

  • Make good use of your status lines: Don’t advertise incessantly and don’t inundate people. But do try to pique interest. Keep your friends updated on your writing and your publishing successes.
  • Post links: Again, don’t overwhelm your friends, but do take advantage of the opportunity to share links. Every time you post something new on your website or blog, share the link on your wall and get the word out to hundreds of people at once.
  • Post pictures: One of Facebook’s most popular features is its picture-sharing capability. People love pictures, so take advantage of their interest by accompanying your links with eye-grabbing images. Post photos of your book covers, magazine covers, book signings, and anything else that’s worthy of attention.
  • Fan page: With the ever-present threat of hacking and identity theft, many people are nervous about sharing the details of their lives with strangers. As a result, expanding your Facebook presence is often dependent upon how many people you’re able to connect with in person. A much easier and more prolific way of contacting as many people as possible is to start a fan page. If you feel you have a large enough following to warrant a fan page, you can create one in minutes. Post a link on your blog that directs people to your fan page, and you can both protect your privacy and send your updates to a countless number of people.
  • Groups: Facebook users create and maintain thousands of groups, most of which function as mini-forums or chat rooms. Find several groups related to your writing and dive in.

Forums & Groups

Arguably the best way to connect with people online is through forum communities. Finding a forum is as easy as typing a few keywords into a Google search and joining up. It is, however, a fairly time-intensive process, since the most effective forum users are those who spend a recognizable amount of time on a site. People who stop in only for a few posts and a little advertising are viewed as spammers and aren’t likely to generate much interest in their writing.

Helpful links: ChristianWriters: One of the best atmospheres for writers on the web.

Yahoo! Groups: Find a group for just about any subject under the sun.

Part 3: We’ll talk about utilizing often overlooked media sites, such Scribd and Shelfari.

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